Rating: 5 / 5
The Nalgene Cantene is light weight at 2 oz. (per REI), though not light compared to the small mouth .5 or 1 L Platypus I am used to. Its use in winter, the large mouth does not freeze shut as easily as the smaller mouth units, is described in the BPL Techniques article:
Saving Time and Weight: A "Winter Water" Routine Tuned for Lightweight Style by Ryan Jordan; at:
I bought this for several uses, and it is working for all:
1) To shove snow into through the wide mouth, then let the sun, body warmth, or just being carried in my pack melt the snow so I get water (as long as the temperatures or sunlight will permit).
2) Get water into the wide mouth when the water is hard to reach with a filter. Then, to slip a filter tube into it. (Then, I wouldn't use it for clean water uses without first cleaning it up with some chemical or UV or other treatment.)
3. As a water storage bag after I get into camp or along the way when there is no water in less than than 4 - 6 hours hiking, maybe even 8 if I am pushing it. Otherwise I use my Platypus .5 liter.
4. As a mixing bag for soups, or drinks.
5. Possibly a sprouting bag, after I learned from Laurie here that I could grow sprouts on the trail for fresh veggies -- out of the lightest of all UL foods I can think of -- seeds.
6. For other esoteric purposes, which I believe are there, but which have not come out of the fog of my gear and nature crazed brain yet.
The wide mouth Cantene works to stuff snow into. That was the first test.
The picture above is of a Cantene which had snow stuffed into it about 4 hours ago and was then left in the sun as it set (in above 32 degree air temperatures). It has already half or more melted. The following picture shows the amount of water after the snow melted while outside on a slightly above freezing night, and the junk at the bottom which can be filtered per the above BPL article:
My theory is that all the snow will melt if carried in my UL 45 pack, putting it in the hydro pocket while hiking -- which is directly behind my back -- from the heat of my back and friction from moving. In my Atmos I believe it might melt faster if stuffed in the webbing between my back and the pack while hiking.
It does condense moisture on the outside, so it might be best just hung on the outside of the pack or in the garbage bag I carry in case I need it for a pack cover or rain coat. Again, so long as the sunlight and air temperatures will allow the snow to melt.
It gets a five for quality and functionality in relation to weight, so far.
But the company info on the tag and the website are almost useless in checking out how to use it best, etc. The Nalgene site does point out that you can stuff a hydration tube in the middle of the top where the loopy cap holder fits in, but I don't use one.
For example, I am not even sure if it is called a 48 oz. Cantene, it is not labelled that way -- it is not labelled with a volume that I can find. It has a "fill line" labelled 48 oz. and there is a warning on the web site not to fill it more than the fill line if it is to be frozen. Thus, I do not know if it is a 48 oz or more model. So I'll just call it a 48 oz., even though it must hold more:
I may even spray paint it black. Hook it through the cap loop to the outside of my pack if there is sunlight and any warmth. Hope the black will absorb more heat from the sun (as long as it hits the cantene) and air temperatures will permit the snow to thaw.
My ultimate theory is it will save fuel to have the snow melt in the Cantene while hiking or sitting it in the sun painted black or in a black garbage bad, then filter the water for gross objects left behind when the snow melts before heating, boil or use a water treatment if I am worried about bacteria, etc. Again, the above BPL article is a good source of information on managing water in a snow and below freezing environment.